Why America is an immigration country

USA - the country of immigration

The Americans, Canadians and Australians are more familiar with the constant immigration of foreigners into their country than, for example, a German, a Swede or a Swiss.

Many parts of the US population see "the newcomers" as less of a threat because immigration is a collective experience that can be found in every American family history. Usually only a generation change is necessary before a Hispanic confesses "I am American".

Germans in America

The USA was shaped by several successive waves of immigration. Until the 1840s, the majority of immigrants came from north-western Europe, mainly from Germany and Ireland. Wars of faith and famine drove the emigrants across "the big pond". Almost one million Germans emigrated to the USA from 1842 to 1856. Many of them were impoverished artisans and farmers and settled in New York. That is why "Avenue B" in what is now the East Village was also called "Little Germany". In "Little Germany" the Germans founded new shops, handicraft businesses and factories. But they also cultivated their old customs, got together in music bands, gymnastics clubs and carnival societies in order to revive feelings of home away from home.

Bring your own customs

The annual Steuben parades in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia testify that the German immigrants did not completely dissolve into an invisible American crowd, but still proudly display their roots today. In New York, the Steuben Parade is the second largest parade after the Thanksgiving Parade during the year. Countless German-American associations and societies take part in it and remember the old homeland. Many participants in the parade wear typical German costumes, as we know them from Bavaria, for example.

Immigration from all parts of the world

From the 1960s onwards, following the waves of immigration by the Germans and the Irish in the 18th century and later the waves of immigration by Italians and Jews, the proportion of Asian and Latin American immigrants has steadily increased.

Around a quarter of the population has German roots

In 1990, 50 million US citizens (23%) stated that they were either wholly or partially of German ancestry. This was the largest ethnic group of the US population to date, ahead of the Irish (39 million), the English (33 million), the Afro-Americans (24 million) and the Italians (15 million).

Another quarter of the population has Hispanic roots

In 2002 there were 37.4 million Hispanics living in the United States. According to estimates by the US Federal Statistical Office, the proportion of the Spanish-speaking population will increase to 24.4 percent of the total population by 2050.

Understand immigration as an asset

Against the background of the different immigration flows, of course, the legitimate question arises as to how the integration of "newcomers", who bring their workforce, their specialist knowledge and their cultural diversity to the USA, takes place.

Plurality is a matter of course

In contrast to the ideas of integration known from Germany and Europe, the integration models of the USA aim at a modern, cultural plurality accepting and protecting principle of integration. A US immigrant is not under pressure to give up his religious and ethnic idiosyncrasies in order to be accepted as a "good American". The USA has a multicultural self-image.

Live on with your own customs

A Chinese immigrant who lives and works in China Town shows no behavior that is detrimental to integration in American terms just because he has established himself in his "ethnic parallel society". In the USA he naturally enjoys the freedom to maintain his customs and traditions in a community and at the same time to contribute to the economic and political success of the country - just like the first German immigrants from the 18th century who lived in "Little Germany".